Learn How To Craft Engaging, Memorable Stories From Your Life Experiences
If you want to ensure that the stories you tell make a lasting impression, then you need to make sure that they are “storyworthy.” That’s why bestselling novelist Matthew Dicks has developed a toolkit of tips and tricks to help you create captivating narratives from your life experiences.
One key component of telling an engaging story is focusing on a five-second moment – that moment in which one can experience the full range of emotion.
Other crucial do’s and don’ts include testing every story for maximum audience impact; knowing how and when to begin and end the story, as well as what information should be included or excluded.
The end result? You’ll have an unforgettable, storyworth tale!
The Power Of Storytelling: How To Tell Engaging Stories That Reflect Change And Involve Vulnerability
It’s important to remember that great stories don’t just recount a series of amazing events, but instead reflect some kind of tangible change over the course of the narrative.
Even movies with poor plots still feature characters whose lives have been altered in some way – for better or for worse.
If your story does not involve any sort of transformation within its timeline, then it’s simply an anecdote and won’t allow you to build deeper connection with your audience.
The importance of casting yourself as the protagonist cannot be overstated either; rather than telling someone else’s story, your listeners want to hear something that happened to you personally.
Doing so requires courage yet also delivers authenticity and relatability – allowing your audience to see things through your own eyes andbetter empathize with the characters in your tale.
That being said, you can tell other people’s stories too; the key difference is by making sure you craft it from your perspective first and foremost.
The Key To A Good Story: Speak From The Heart, Not Staged Performances
When you tell your story, the goal isn’t to show off with theatrical or poetic flourishes.
You’re not putting on a show, you’re just telling your story as if you were at dinner with friends.
That’s why author Dicks calls it the “dinner test”: if your story is the one you would tell a friend over dinner, then it likely measures up.
When some people tell stories in front of an audience, they tend to add unnecessary gestures that mime how an idea alighted on them (fluttering hand movements or odd facial expressions).
The same goes for adding poetical flourishes to a story when spoken in front of a crowd or written down.
These things might make for good theater, but they don’t make for good stories and can lead to awkward moments.
People also often start their narratives with dialogue that doesn’t draw the listener in – and again, this would fall flat at dinner.
Rather than impress your audience by performing your story, you need to be more natural – speak from the heart without any pre-prepared flourishes.
This will create the connection between you and your audience needed to truly convey your story.
So next time you are telling a tale, keep in mind that less is often more!
The Essential Truth Of Storytelling: Every Good Story Is About A Five-Second Life-Changing Moment
According to Chris Dicks‘ book Storyworthy, at its very core, every good story is about a five-second moment.
This five-second moment is typically sudden, powerful and small — such as when you meet the love of your life, or stop loving them, or forgive someone or fall into despair.
These moments tend to be the ones with the most impact and create lasting impressions on audiences.
To exemplify this, Dicks talks about an experience from his own life which has often made many audiences cry.
As a teenager he was involved in an extremely serious car crash that caused him to be technically dead for 5 seconds until paramedics resuscitated him.
Surprisingly though, this near-death experience wasn’t the moment that audiences connected with most in his story.
That transformative five second moment came later in the hospital while he was waiting for surgery, feeling scared and rejected by his own parents — when suddenly all his teenage friends showed up in the waiting room to cheer him up and send words of encouragement.
This single fleeting moment more resonated than hundreds of words explaining what it felt like to almost die because it’s something everyone can relate to — loneliness, rejection and how even one person cheering you on can give you hope again — and it’s often the thing people remember most when discussing this story afterwards.
Begin Your Story By Choosing The Opposite Of How It Will End
If you’re trying to craft a compelling story, understanding how your story ends is essential.
This can be thought of as the five-second moment, which is the heart of your story and its purpose.
Once you’ve identified this transformative moment, you can use it to identify the beginning of your tale.
Finding the right starting point involves looking back over your life experiences and determining which moments best illustrate where you began in opposition to where it’s taking you.
Asking yourself how the story ends first will help narrow down which moments should be included to develop a satisfying arc for storytelling.
For example, in a romantic comedy involving two people, if the movie ends with them happily together, then it would make sense that the beginning could show them leading very different lives from one another; this dichotomy allows for significant changes throughout the duration of their journey together.
The same principle can be applied when writing autobiographical stories; consider how far you have come in life and track back which pivotal events led to this change in perspective or relationships.
In writing stories based on real-life experiences, focusing on the ending and working backwards allows writers to craft a meaningful narrative around educating readers on various life lessons while entertaining them at the same time.
How To Immerse Your Audience In Your Storytelling Experience: Use The Present Tense And Avoid Rhetorical Questions And Addressing People
If you want to take your audience on a journey with you, then it’s important for you to keep in mind some crucial do’s and don’ts.
Firstly, use the present tense whenever possible!
This creates an immediacy which makes it easier for your audience to get involved in the story.
Additionally, avoid using rhetorical questions – by asking these types of questions, you’ll break the immersive experience as your audience will be reminded they are not actually part of the narrative.
Lastly, another way to ensure that your audience is deeply immersed in your storytelling session is by not addressing them directly.
Doing so interrupts their mental involvement in the story and makes them aware of their physical presence there listening to it.
By following these do’s and don’ts, you’ll find that is much easier and more enjoyable for you and your audience to transport yourselves back into the key moments of your tale!
Being Careful With Words: Why Storytellers Need To Avoid Swearing And Vulgarity
The words you use when telling a story will have an immense impact on how it is received by your audience.
This goes double if you are looking to develop your storytelling career, as swearing and profanity will do little to help you make a good impression.
The author of “Storyworthy” knows this all too well, which is why he made sure to always maintain a level of restraint when writing his stories for his blog.
He knew that excessive swearing or criticism could damage his credibility and be off-putting for potential employers or audiences.
This has been proven with the author’s success – he was invited to appear on The Moth, a popular podcast and radio show, where his stories have reached millions of listeners.
This was mostly due to the fact that his stories were almost entirely free from swearing, making them suitable for all audiences.
If you want the same results in your own storytelling career, then avoid swearing in your work.
In addition, stay away from vulgarity – describing profane events in great detail may seem authentic and honest to you but it might just end up grossing out your audience instead!
By steering clear of these pitfalls, you can make sure that what you write is appropriate and palatable for any audience.
Who knows? Your restrained approach could even lead to an invitation onto The Moth one day!
The main takeaway from Storyworthy: Master the Art of Storytelling by Christopher Vore is that mastering the art of storytelling involves understanding and applying the right techniques.
To create a great story, you need to incorporate meaningful change, avoid vulgarity and adornments, and use present tense to generate emotion in your audience.
Furthermore, you should also be aware that celebrity references don’t bring any real value to your stories; they are often confusing and lazy, since they don’t give enough information about characters.
By following these tips, you’re well on your way to becoming an amazing storyteller!